March 7, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
If you’ve found yourself bound to a wheelchair due to an accident or illness, it’s no secret that you’re also finding some new challenges to deal with. Something that used to be a simple task may now have transformed into a major ordeal. Some activities may just not be possible any longer. Others may be done, but only with the support of another person or with the use of specialized equipment.
For someone who has previously had full use of their legs, one of the biggest challenges may be adjusting to the idea of needing someone else’s help to accomplish things you used to do without even thinking about them. And one of the most difficult things to do on your own, is transferring, that is, moving in and out of the wheelchair. Of course, this can be done more easily with the help of a friend or loved one. But we certainly understand if you’re somewhat uncomfortable always asking for help, and applaud your efforts to do things more independently. For those who want to move around more on their own, we offer a few steps for transferring from a wheelchair to your bed safely.
1. Move the wheelchair into position.
In order to facilitate transferring from wheelchair to bed, start by moving the wheelchair to the optimal position. This should be as close as possible to the bed, and parallel to it. If you have one side that’s stronger than the other, you should be on that side of the bed.
2. Use the brakes!
Your wheelchair should be equipped with locking wheels. Use them! You’ve got enough to be concerned about without having to worry about the wheelchair slipping out from under you as you’re transferring to your bed. If the bed is on wheels, those should be locked as well. This may, of course, require someone else’s assistance, though it’s probably best if you keep the bed locked in place at all times.
3. Move the footrests out of the way.
You don’t need any obstacles in your path either. Move the footrests out of your way so that they don’t obstruct your transfer. Leave yourself a clear path to the bed.
4. Use a transfer board
One additional piece of equipment that you’ll want to employ is the “transfer board”. Using one of these can really make the process of transferring from wheelchair to bed so much easier. Position the board with one end under your bottom, and the other firmly on the bed. Using your hands to propel yourself, move gradually across the board until you’ve completed the transfer from your wheelchair to your bed. Try to avoid dragging yourself across the board, since this can scratch or otherwise injure your skin.
Above all else, don’t take any chances! While we know you want to be as independent as possible, if you’re not comfortable making a transfer like this on your own, don’t put yourself at risk. Call someone for help if you need it.